Article by Jo Murchie
Four years ago, if you’d told me I would be running my own business from home, supporting mums in their return to the workplace, I would never have believed it. At that time, I was a film industry executive, working as a Director with the largest Hollywood film studio, commuting weekly toLondonand loving every minute. I had diligently climbed a slippery career ladder to land my dream job, and my days were spent flying First Class, dining in the world’s finest restaurants, closing multi-million dollar deals and meeting celebrities such as the cast of Friends, Tom Cruise, Daniel Radcliffe and Gerard Butler. I only saw my husband at weekends, but I was living my dream.
Then along came our first child, swiftly followed by our second, and suddenly everything changed. For me to have continued with my career, we would have employed a full time nanny, and I would have been a part-time mum, saying goodnight to my babies by Skype. This wasn’t how I wanted to raise my children. I had reached a major crossroads but in the end there was no decision to make.
Fast forward four years. Being a stay-at-home mum has been a magical, life-changing experience – but I still needed an income. I looked at various partyplan and home income opportunities, tried a couple and suddenly found myself running a successful business from home, which led to me being named as one of four Finalists in the Hampshire Winning Women Business Awards, in the Business Mum of the Year category! It’s something I am immensely proud of but never would have predicted. I loved working from home, but I knew deep down that the teambuilding business model wasn’t for me – and as the business grew, it started to become less easy to combine with being a mum.
Having always enjoyed writing, I found freelance work with a CV consultancy, professionally re-writing people’s CVs to help them secure interviews. I suddenly found myself being bombarded with questions by other mums who had taken a career break and were now finding it very hard to break back into the employment market. How should their CV deal with the “lost years” that they had spent at home? This was a revelation to me – as far as I was concerned, the years spent nurturing my children were anything but “lost” – after all, isn’t being a mum one of the hardest and most demanding full-time jobs of all?
As demand for my skills grew, I took the major step of setting my own CV consultancy, and CV Essentials was born – initially specialising in helping other mums with their return-to-work CVs, but expanding into all areas and professions. Word spread fast about the personal, tailored service I was offering at very reasonable rates, and I soon needed to set up a website to field orders – www.cv-essentials.co.uk.
So now I am my own boss, I work entirely from home, with complete flexibility – I put the kids to bed then sit down for 3-4 hours working on orders – including application forms and covering letters in addition to CVs. My husband still doesn’t see that much of me during the week, but at least we’re in the same house, not in different countries!
I’ve had some wonderful feedback comments, with 100% customer satisfaction, and it feels great to be playing such an important role in helping others with their search for employment. I know what it’s like to find my dream job – and now I enjoy helping others to find theirs.
My top 5 tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd:
- Keep it brief and to the point. If it’s more than 2 pages, it’s almost certainly too long.
- Don’t draw attention to any weaknesses – sell your GOOD points, not your bad ones!
- Put a lot of thought into your personal profile section, which should go at the top – some employers will only take the time to read this, so it needs to cover a lot of ground in a few short sentences.
- Don’t try and hide a career break to raise a family – it’s something that shows courage and dedication (which employers like!), so don’t sweep it under the carpet.
- Think about what makes YOU special above all other applicants. Make sure your CV conveys this so that the words jump off the page.
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